breaking news

Woman struck, killed on U.S. 40, east of Springfield identified

Pirates manager envisioned postseason baseball when he took job


A photo of the first pitch ever thrown at PNC Park hangs on a wall in the press box. Pirates pitcher Todd Ritchie threw to catcher Jason Kendall with future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, of the Reds, at the plate.

That was more than 12 years ago, April 9, 2001. It remains one of the more memorable games in the history of the stadium, if only because it was the first.

Larkin struck out in that first at-bat, but the Reds won 8-2 that day and the Pirates lost 100 games that season. Many years of misery preceded 2001 for Pirates fans, and many years of misery followed.

That history adds to the drama at 8:07 tonight as the Reds return to PNC Park for the National League wild card playoff game, the first postseason game at the stadium and the first postseason game for the Pirates since 1992. It’s the 18th postseason game between the Reds and Pirates and the first since the 1990 NL Championship Series.

Pittsburgh held a rally for the Pirates in Market Square downtown on Monday. More than 2,000 fans showed up to cheer on a team they need more than ever — the Steelers, after all, are 0-4.

“I’m looking forward to (Tuesday) because this is significant for our city,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “This is significant for our fan base. This is part of what I envisioned when I signed up for it. To see that rally this afternoon, to see the people out with the Jolly Roger flag, that’ll all play into tomorrow night’s game, but the beauty of it is once the game starts, you’re in a game again, and all that other stuff gets put wherever it needs to be put.”

The Pirates swept the Reds at Great American Ball Park over the weekend to clinch the home-field advantage in this one-game playoff. Pittsburgh won the season series 11-8.

“I don’t think there’s ever a time in pro sports that you don’t win and you walk away with something,” Hurdle said. “How much that something plays out tomorrow night, I can’t quantify because truthfully nothing matters what happened over the weekend. Really the last 162 don’t matter either, for either team.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

WATCH: 38-year-old Cubs pitcher John Lackey steals second base
WATCH: 38-year-old Cubs pitcher John Lackey steals second base

You’re never too old to steal your first base. Cubs’ pitcher John Lackey stole second in Chicago’s 8-7 win over the Reds on Wednesday. It was the first steal in the 38-year-old veteran’s career. Lackey singled off Homer Bailey in the bottom of the fourth. He took off early (and unexpectedly) on an 0-1 count and slid to beat...
Reds’ 8-7 loss to Cubs contained notable milestones
Reds’ 8-7 loss to Cubs contained notable milestones

Several Reds set new marks despite the team’s rally falling just short in an 8-7 loss to the Cubs: Zack Cozart clubbed his 17th home run. It sets a new career-high, and moved him into the third place for most homers by a Reds shortstop (75). Outfielder Phillip Ervin collected his first hit and home run in a single swing. He’s the first...
Four Ohio cities rank among top 10 in producing NFL players
Four Ohio cities rank among top 10 in producing NFL players

Ohio has four cities – including Nos. 1 and 2 – in the top 10 in producing NFL players per capita, according to a recent study. »RELATED: Area products who have played in the Super Bowl Youngstown tops the list, followed by Canton, with Cincinnati at No. 9 and Cleveland at No. 10, according to a study by AreaVibes. The study was based...
Zack Cozart hits 75th career HR, third-most among Red shortstops
Zack Cozart hits 75th career HR, third-most among Red shortstops

Zack Cozart is moving up in the Reds’ history books. The shortstop hit his 75th career homer in last night’s 8-7 loss to the Cubs. It’s the third most among Reds (primary) shortstops all-time. It’s possible for Cozart to pass Concepcion in two seasons at his pace, and Larkin isn’t unfathomable. But both depend on if the...
Sports Today: Cincinnati Bengals might have a pair of pass-rushing steals
Sports Today: Cincinnati Bengals might have a pair of pass-rushing steals

The training camp performances of a pair of rookie pass rushers indicate the Cincinnati Bengals knew what they were doing when they waited until the third and fourth rounds to address that area of need in the draft.  Jordan Willis is in the spotlight today after Carl Lawson hogged it for much of the early part of camp (not to mention offseason...
More Stories